When we talk about blogging, marketers immediately rush to say it's not as simple as it used to be. Competition for attention is big, ranking on Google is a challenge on its own, and results take time to appear. I disagree - I think people who keep repeating those in an endless loop are missing the point and the power of it.
To be fair, all of these assertions are valid. Competition for attention is indeed big. You shouldn't expect any concrete results in the first 12-18 months of blogging.
Except if the main results you are looking for are not clicks and pageviews.
A Personal Blog, But For Business Purposes
This post - "CCS: A Growth Framework For Boutique Consulting Firms" - has 452 lifetime pageviews. The number would be considered low for most marketers out there, who may also criticize the lack of any visible call-to-action button or form.
But that post was also the catalyst of the following results:
- It was featured in an email newsletter from someone I deeply respect.
- It created many new connections and at least 3 interesting conversations with other independent consulting partners.
- It allowed me to document my thoughts about how the theory of constraints can help us prioritize business initiatives, which is an idea I often use during client engagements.
That last point, in specific, is the biggest hidden advantage of running a personal blog. You are learning how to write and document your ideas in public. That process is not only helpful to provide proof of expertise, but also to create serendipity and attract intellectually curious people.
Most of the blogs out there that live under consulting firms' brands are a product of complete outsourcing. Content is written by agencies or contractors who are not subject matter experts, and the final result is overly polished and standardized.
A personal blog, on the other hand, aims at building genuine connections.
Forget Prestigious Publications, Build Your Platform
At least once a month, I get requests from solo consultants who are looking to get featured on a prestigious publication (Entrepreneur, Fast Company, etc). They heard about some of the outreach campaigns my team at Singular Reach runs, and think it will solve their problems.
Yes, being featured by one of those mass media outlets can still send a strong first signal of credibility. But just because you can, doesn't mean that you should.
Within 10 minutes of conversation, it becomes clear that the prospect is self-prescribing a solution before performing a diagnostic. There are many other alternatives for consultants to increase mindshare and trustworthiness who are more sustainable and cost-effective than getting featured on Entrepreneur.
And based on my experience, personal blogging is one of them.
When you embed posts with your personality, you are making them unique. When you share your learnings in one place, you can easily find them and share them with others in the future. When you commit to writing and find your tone of voice, your content will become much more memorable.
I've said it before: As a specialized independent consultant, few companies would benefit the most from your expertise. A large part of your value comes from being exclusive. Marketing initiatives that scale can end up hurting your positioning and pricing power.
Identify who your dream audience is and start writing for them. It will immensely help you to create new connections, and engage with those who really matter.